Toronto to New York | How To Get The Best Flight Deals
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The Ydeals Noise-Free Guide To Getting The Best Deal On Flights From Toronto (YYZ) to New York City
|There seem to be thousands of travel sites out there, all wanting you to believe they have unique or special prices on airfares from Toronto to New York City. They don't. |
They use marketing noise to distort the reality that there is really only one original source of base-line prices for flights to New York City.
This guide for South-Western Ontario travellers will hopefully remove some of the noise and show you what that source is, so you can stop wasting quite so much time searching for the best flight prices on NYC travel.
What are these unique sources of prices on flights from Toronto to New York City ?
Unique Source #1 - The Major Airlines
How many major airports does New York City have?
There are 3 airports that people commonly fly in to and out of when traveling to New York City From Toronto.
- Newark (EWR)
- John F Kennedy (JFK)
- LaGuardia (LGA)
So which one should Torontonians fly into? They all offer decent transfer service to Manhattan, so it often comes down to which airline has the best price, that dictates which airport you'll be flying into. Newark (EWR) is usually considered to have the best public transportation to Manhattan via train, for a reasonable cost. Laguardia (LGA) is the closest to Manhattan, and both LaGuardia and JFK have shuttle service that connect with the New York subway system.
Where should I look to get the best Toronto - New York flight deal?
All you need to do is search all the major airlines that service Toronto and New York, preferably at once. My current favorite way to do this would be using Google Flights Explorer because you can just enter 'New York (all airports)' into the 'To' box, and see current airfares from all the major airlines, to all three New York City airports, at one time. Not to mention how easy it is to browse through different date combinations.
One thing to note is that in the 'From' box, be sure to use 'Toronto (all airports)' instead of just 'Toronto (YYZ)', otherwise you'll miss out on searching the fares to New York City from Porter Airlines and other Air Canada flights (Air Canada flys out of two Toronto airports).
They both fly from Toronto's second airport, Billy Bishop (YTZ), which is just minutes from downtown Toronto, unlike every other airline which use Lester B Pearson (YYZ) airport. By selecting 'Toronto (all airports') in the From box, you'll be searching flights that depart from either YYZ or YTZ.
Even if you're planning to go for a longer date range than Google Flight Explorer supports (currently up to 2 weeks), it will give you an excellent idea of what the typical bottom price is right now, and which airline(s) it can be found on. Use it as a starting point, and then use a tool with more precise search options, such as...
My second favorite way would be to search using Kayak. It has all the sort and filter options I need, and searches all major airlines. Click on 'Make my dates flexible' and set it to '+/- 3 days'. You may be surprised how often being a little flexible with your dates can result in a better price.
In the 'From' box on Kayak, use 'Toronto, ON, Canada - All airports (YTO)' as your departure city. Similar to what I mentioned above with Google Explorer, by doing this you will be searching airfares to New York City from both of Toronto's airports. On any decent travel search engine, you can usually use the 3 letter code YTO to search departures from both YYZ and YTZ airport.
Similarly, in the 'To' box, use 'New York, NY - All airports (NYC)' as your destination, to make sure you search all 3 of New York's major airports. Again, with any decent travel search engine, if you use the 3 letter code NYC you will be searching all 3 of New York's airports. You can also click on 'airport map' right underneath the 'To' box, to pick and choose which of New York's airports you want to search.
What about all the other sites I see promoting value-priced airfares to New York City?
This is the noise. There is far from a shortage of travel sites with search engines trying to convince you that they have the cheapest flights from Toronto to New York City. The truth is that there's only one unique source of plane ticket prices that they're gathering their information from, and that's the prices from the major airlines themselves. They can't offer a lower price than the airline servicing YYZ-NYC itself, as there's already virtually no markup.
Unfortunately, I think travelers in Canada tend to waste an enormous amount of time checking multiple websites, hoping for a better deal than the one they already found (studies show it to be an average of 22 different sites over 10 periods of research!). The first reason is we naturally all want to compare prices and make sure we're getting the best deal. It's human nature, at least for the frugal traveller.
Still, I happen to think the biggest reason is simply a result of the noise from travel marketing. With so many travel sites and brands competing for your attention, all hoping you'll book your Toronto trip to New York through them, combined with the fact that not one of them will *ever* admit to you that their source of prices is the same as everyone else, it's little wonder Ontario travellers waste so much time searching for a value-packed holiday.
What about searching the Toronto-based airline's website directly?
There's nothing wrong with doing that. It's usually just a lot easier to search all of the airlines at once, with a better interface using a good search tool. It's amazing how poor many of the airline's search interfaces are. The fares found on any half-decent search engine will be the same as the fares found on the airline's own website.
One thing you can do is just use a search tool to search all the airlines at once, and then go to the airline's own site to book it once you've figured out exactly which flight you want, and what the price is.
What about my local travel agency or independent travel agent here in the GTA?
Guess what? They're seeing the same prices you are, if you bother to search as I've outlined above. Depending on the agency or agent, they may or may not charge you a 'booking fee' on top of the airfare price, for their time. As there's virtually no markup on the cost of flights, they can't offer you a price that's any cheaper than from the airline, or from a search tool that properly searches the latest airfares.
When should I book a trip to New York to get the best price?
This is never an easy question to answer, as airfares are not 100% predictable. Airlines start by setting their price at a level they think will fill the maximum number of seats, based on the demand they expect to see. If they experience less demand than they expected, they may decide to lower them. If they experience more demand than they expected, they may raise them. Unfortunately, a lot of factors that influence demand can be unpredictable.
How long a person can wait it out in hopes of a better price is a personal decision. Personally though, I am usually not afraid to watch prices on the major airlines up to about 8 weeks before departure in hopes of a better price without fear of the price rising. But everyone has a different tolerance for risk.
What about last minute flights to New York for less?
Last minute airfare deals to New York City on the major airlines don't really exist. Most airfares on the major airlines, tend to rise as you get fairly close to the departure date, if the airline has done their job correctly, and filled most of the seats on the plane. They feel the last remaining seats become more valuable so they often decide to raise the price.
What's a decent price to New York City from YYZ?
From Toronto, flights to New York City tend to bottom out around $225 - $275 roundtrip after taxes. This is just a general guideline though, based on average demand periods of the year.
Airfare prices are highly affected by demand. So anytime you can think of a reason that there might be higher demand than usual for travel to New York (such as dates when many people in Toronto have holiday time) you can expect prices to react accordingly. But with so many airlines competing on fares between Toronto and New York Cities, you can usually find a flight for under $300 roundtrip after taxes, even around the Christmas holidays.
What about one way flights to New York City?
You should be able to get to any of the major airports in NYC from the GTA for about 50-60% of the cost of a roundtrip flight. Use the same search techniques as for round-trip flights, and just change the search option in your favorite search tool to 'one-way'.
What about non-stop (direct) flights to New York City?
From Toronto, there are non-stop (direct) flights to New York City into...
- Newark (EWR): Air Canada, Porter Airlines (from YTZ), United
- John F Kennedy (JFK): Air Canada, American Airlines, Delta
- LaGuardia (LGA): Air Canada, Westjet, American Airlines, Delta, United, US Airways
What about a multi-city flight? Such as into one New York City airport and out of another?
Searching for multi-city flights in travel is still a bit of a pain. Even Google Explorer currently can't handle it, as there's too many possible combinations. I'm sure eventually someone (likely Google) will put enough processing power behind it and create something useful for searching multi-city fares.
But for now, you're stuck with searching one departure date at a time when it comes to multi-city fares and experimenting with different destination combinations. Most of the decent travel sites will offer a multi-city option (it should be right next to 'one-way' and 'round-trip').
Kayak would be my preferred option here. Just click on the 'multi-city' option and in the first box, enter in Toronto (YTO) to LaGuardia (LGA), or whatever airport you want to fly into, and then in the second box, enter John F Kennedy (JFK) to Toronto, or whatever airport you want to fly out of.
You never really know what you're going to get with a multi-city fare. From Toronto to New York City, it can often be around the same price as a typical roundtrip fare to the same destinations (or an average of the two). Sometimes it can be slightly more. In rare cases it can even be cheaper.
What about cheap flights to New York City from U.S. airports close to Toronto?
If you've ever read my guide about flying out of U.S. Airports within driving distance of Toronto, you may know that I feel it could be worth the drive, when you see an airfare from a U.S. airport to New York City that's at least a certain number of dollars less per person than the airfare from Toronto.
How much cheaper it needs to be depends on which U.S. airport you're flying from. Below, I'll list how much cheaper I feel it should be from each U.S. airport, to be worth the drive.
From Niagara Falls, New York (IAG)
From Buffalo, New York (BUF)
I feel it could be worth the drive, when you see an airfare from Buffalo to New York that's at least $225 less per person than from Toronto.
Considering the bottom price from Toronto is typically around $250-$275, that would mean the fare from Buffalo would have to be pretty much free (or the airline paying you), to be worth the drive in most cases, in my opinion. There can be some pretty cheap airfares from Buffalo to New York City (usually bottoming out at around $120 roundtrip after taxes). But I personally feel it's really only worth the drive and potential inconvenience if you can't find something from Toronto on your dates in the typical $250-$275 range.
Another strategy worth investigating is taking MegaBus to Buffalo, after booking a one-way flight from Buffalo to New York City. And then book a second one-way flight from New York City to Toronto. Or try a multi-city flight, Buffalo to NYC, NYC to Toronto. This avoids having to pay the high taxes & fees that are built into fares departing from Toronto.
I think I've found a great deal from Toronto on a flight to New York City!
Excellent! Please share it with your fellow travel lovers, they will appreciate it and thank you for it! You can post it in the YYZ Deals Facebook group (click 'Join Group', at the top-right, when you arrive), where thousands of people from Toronto are crowd-sourcing the best deals, and sharing great travel advice.
Why should I trust this Toronto to New York traveller's guide?
|The info in this guide is based on my observations of the travel industry over the years, including all the thousands of websites out there, and where all the different players get their prices from and how they interact with each other. |
The goal is to remove the noise of travel marketing, so people can stop wasting so much valuable time searching the same prices over and over.
But, as social proof of it's accuracy, feel free to join the YYZ Deals Facebook Group (click 'Join Group', at the top-right, when you arrive) and publicly disagree with any of it, or make a comment below. Critiques are always welcome!
I think I have some info on Toronto to New York travel that could help improve the guide!
Great! Please post your info in the Facebook group above, or contact me directly. Suggestions for improvement are always appreciated. Let me know if you see something that seems inaccurate or outdated.
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